Bladder Stones in Dogs
Types and How They Form
Bladder stones in dogs (also referred to as
uroliths or calculi) are increasingly common, and can
affect both male and female dogs of all breeds and all ages.
In many cases canine bladder stones may never cause any
and may only be detected by chance
during a routine veterinarian examination.
cases, however, bladder
stones in dogs can often cause excruciating pain and life threatening
The most dangerous outcome is when a dog bladder
stone becomes lodged in its
urethra, preventing the dog from passing urine. This can
result in illnesses such as uremic poisoning, acute
canine renal failure
, hyperkalemia, or septicemia - which can prove to be fatal if not
treated as a medical emergency.
In the following article, we give an overview of:
We will also examine in detail the
role of dog
food and diet for canine bladder stones. This includes
or other vet recommended dog food, homemade dog food recipes, and
natural supplements for the treatment and prevention of canine
How Canine Bladder Stones Form
A canine bladder stone forms when microscopic
crystals accumulate and unite in the dog's urinary tract
found microscopically in a urinalysis of a dog with a bladder
A diagnosis of crystals in your dog's urine
may be of concern if:
- Your dog has a history of urinary stones;
- Your dog presently has a urinary tract
or has a history of UTIs;
- Your dog is susceptible to other causes of canine
It is important to understand, however, that it is not
a healthy dog to be diagnosed with crystals, and these findings are
Additionally, crystals may
form in urine within 30 minutes after collection, creating a false
positive, so it's important that testing is done promptly.
As per Narda
Robinson, DO, DVM, "Dispelling Myths About CaOx
Uroliths, Veterinary Practice News - "Individuals
millions of urinary crystals daily without producing stones. Fluids
flushing the urinary tract counter the supersaturation of stone-forming
solutes. Ensuring regular intake of clean, fresh water serves as the
primary prevention strategy."
your dog has been diagnosed with crystals but has
no symptoms, no urinary stones and no canine
urinary tract infection,
you should not
be concerned and do not have to do anything!
If your veterinarian automatically recommends any medication,
food or other vet recommended dog food ... we suggest you think twice!
your research, challenge your vet, and you may even wish to
second veterinarian opinion.
to Patricia Schenck
& D.J. Chew from the book: Home-Prepared Dog
and Cat Diets - ”The frequency of
bladder stones in
dogs is not high enough to justify dietary modification before a stone
forms, and treatment of crystalluria is unnecessary in dogs that have
never formed a urolith”.
Types of Bladder Stones in Dogs
The two most common types of canine bladder stones are
Bladder Stones in Dogs
urinary stones (comprised of struvite crystals - aka magnesium,
ammonium, phosphate) are one of the most prevalent bladder stones in
stones removed from
Although these canine bladder stones can afflict all dogs, those at
significantly greater risk
smaller female dogs
between four and eight years of age, who are prone to
canine bladder infections.
Breeds of dogs most susceptible to forming struvite
appear to be mixed breeds, Miniature
Schnauzers, Shih Tzus, Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniels and Lhasa Apsos.
Oxalate (CaOx) Bladder Stones in Dogs
oxalate stones found in the
urinary bladder of a dog.
(Photos by Joel Mills (own work) via Wikipedia)
Calcium oxalate stones (comprised of calcium oxalate crystals - CaOx)
are also very common in dogs and their
occurence has been steadily increasing over the past several years.
Unlike struvite stones, calcium oxalate bladder stones occur
significantly more frequently in male dogs, and do not appear
to be associated with urinary tract infection in dogs.
Although CaOx dog bladder stones can affect all breeds, those most
predisposed are Miniature Schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers,
Bichon Frise, Shih Tzus, and Miniature Poodles between two and ten
years of age.
The Bichon Frise appears to be particularly prone to recurring
oxalate bladder stones, and they often seem to have a recurrence within
the first year after surgery.
Common Dog Bladder Stones
Other - far less common - bladder stones in dogs are:
- Urate Stones are found mainly in
Dalmatians and to a lesser degree in English Bulldogs and
- Cystine Stones form due to a genetic defect that causes excess
cystine in the urine. Signs of cystine calculi typically do not appear
before 3 to 5 years of age, and the recurence rate is high.
- Calcium Phosphate Stone, and
- Silica Stones.
stones in dogs can consist of a
core of one or more minerals surrounded by
layers of different ingredients. They also may
not even be comprised of the same
crystals that may have been identified in your dog's
The only way to determine the type of your dog's bladder stone is to
analyze a sample that
has either passed naturally or been removed via surgery.
Although much less common, a dog can also form stones and
crystals in other parts of its urinary tract including the
kidney or urethra. Kidney stones in dogs
(nephroliths) generally do not cause
disease but, in some circumstances, they can lead to
pyelonephritis (a bacterial
infection of the dog's upper urinary tract and kidney) and
renal failure in dogs.
Suspect bladder stones in your pooch?
would value a second
opinion about your dog's bladder stone diagnosis and
treatment, we highly recommend you consider the
following very reputable on-line service.
Ask a Vet is extremely inexpensive (average cost $9 - $15) and
offers prompt one-on-one response from a qualified veterinarian.
- Canine Bladder Stones - Causes, Sytmptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
- More on Bladder Stones in Dogs - Types and How They Form
- Canine Urinary Tract Infection - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- Dog Bladder Infection - At Home Prevention Tips for Dog
Urinary Problems - Prevent and
Recurrence (Coming Soon)
- Canine Bladder Stones Prevention - Prescription Dog Food, Homemade
Dog Food Recipes, Natural Dog Supplements and Other Home Care Tips (Coming Soon)
- Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms - Renal Failure in Dogs and Renal Dog Food Diets
- Low Protein Dog Food - Unlike high protein dog food, reduced protein dog foods are
usually only indicated as a treatment aid for various dog health problems
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Bladder Stones in Dogs